Skip to main content

help desk

help desk A location where queries by phone, email, fax, personal callers, etc., are dealt with by people, usually assisted by computer software. Large commercial help desks operate almost entirely by phone, while smaller help desks internal to organizations may have predominantly personal callers. There are a number of models of help desk: unskilled, where all queries are passed on, skilled, where up to 90% of the queries are answered at the desk, and expert, where all queries are expected to be answered at the desk. Which model is used depends on how broad or specialized are the topics covered by the desk, and what staff are available.

Help-desk software is used to keep track of help-desk queries. The software will allow the details of the problem to be entered, and its progress to be monitored as it is passed from the desk to one or more specialists. It will also help to ensure that all problems are eventually answered, and that the details of the solution are stored to assist in the solution of future problems.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"help desk." A Dictionary of Computing. . 21 Feb. 2019 <>.

"help desk." A Dictionary of Computing. . (February 21, 2019).

"help desk." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved February 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.